Sunday, March 30, 2008

BETWEEN THE MATRESS AND THE SPRINGS

Back in Coyhaique, waiting on a mechanic.




FROM THE JOURNAL:



March 29th, 2008
Today, as I was trying to clear my bed of whatever it is that's been biting me in the night, I found a derelect pillow in between the matress and the springs, and about five layers of flattened cardboard boxes covering the slats.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

THE FALL




As the first week blead into the third, struggling through foreign paperwork, I begane tuning in on certain spirits:



After three weeks, I was as ready as I could be, and headed further south. And the world opened before me. The feeling of cruising through such country on a motorcycle is difficult to describe.

From The Journal:

March 15th, 2008
...and made it into Puerto Bertrand circa 7:00 last night. Got a room in a lodge run by a dingy old fisherman with droopy eyelids, by the name of Escobar. He let me cook my dinner on his stove while he watched a programe on tantric sex. Kinda an awkward experience.


I had initially planned to go to the pueblo of Cochrane in order to take part in the protest of three dams that will most likely be put in on the Baker River. I was going to paint scenes of the areas that will eventually be flooded, but my paints had long since dried up, and I couldnt find the protest location worth the life of me. Furthermore, over the previous weeks discussing the topic with chileans, I had grown more and more uncomfortable taking a position on the matter as a Gringo. I still personally believe the dams are not the right answer, but I feel that it is important the people opposed to the dams put more stress on the alternatives, because there is in fact a need for energy. Possable alternatives I have heard spoken of are wind farms in the north, and tide turbines around the island of Chiloe. Certaintly diversity is best.
to learn more about the issue visit this site:
internationalrivers.org




I back-tracked north, to cross the border into Argentina at Chile Chico. Lago General Carrera was magnificent. Heading south on route 40, in the high desert of Argentina, I quickly spotted three forms of wildlife I had previously never seen. Armadillos, ground birds resembling ostriches, yet a bit smaller, and some sort of deer in relation to alpaca, or llamas.
And then El Chalten, and the marvels of the Fitz-Roy mountain range.


spied a few woodpeckers on my way down.





Driving back north on route 40 to retrieve some more paperwork from Coyhaique, I stoped to document some of the changes taking place. In another five years most of Route 40 in Argentina, and route 7 in Chile will be under Tarmac. I am thankful to get the chance to visit these areas on dirtbike before they are changed forever.
And then my chain fell off.

But it is fixed now, and I'm waiting in Coyhaique again for some work to be done to the rack on my bike.

A Grey Period

After the six hour ferry ride, began my Carretara Austral experience. the first stop was Chaiten. There was a little color there for me, and I tried desperately to work.


Yet little happened. I met an american who told me of his experiences buying vehicles in chile. His story of buying a motorcycle interested me in particular. At about this time I realised I had very little money in my wallet, and there wasnt an ATM that accepted visa within ten hours by bus.

And I began to fall. I fell ten hours southward towards Coyhaique, with an ever growing obsession with motorcycles.












since these drawings about Pinochet, Ive met a number of chileans who remember that period as a time of positive growth for chile, especially in these southern, Patagonian regions.



AFTER THE TRAVERSE, AND BEFORE THE FALL

After Pucon, and hiking the Villarica Traverse, I headed south by bus, directly to the most southern city on "mainland" Chile, Puerto Montt. Puerto Montt is not a particularly dazzling city, and doesn't appear to offer much to the tourist. However, being the largest city in the region, it hosts a semi-large hospital, and I was due for my follow-up hepatitis vaccination. Upon arriving in the dingy bus station, i established a bed in a Hospedaje(a private residence with rooms for rent), and hiked up the hill to the hospital.

I had high hopes for the hospital after aproaching it's location, on the hill above town, with a wide vista of the bay. Yet, after passing the guard at the main entrance, I found a nearly vacant facility with apparently no electricity, and massive lines at the few windows that were staffed. In a way, the scene had an enticing, desolute mood with tiled murals, falling apart in the afternoon sun, time stretching on, but not a location I felt ready to be violated by neadles.

Confused about what to do, and with a need to use the restroom, I headed back to town in search for a bar that might have toilet paper in their restroom. i checked out a few nicer establishments, but they lacked the paper. I finally entered the most north-american style eatery in town, used their facilities, ordered a beer, and sat down to hash out my options.

Within minutes, I was aware of the conversations in english carrying on on either side of my table. On one side was a young guy involved in an internship at a local private hospital. He told me the name of a docter there I could go see for my vaccination. On my other side were two flyfishing guides, who were attempting to open up a lodge in a village south east of town. One was flying out the next morning, and the other was to be heading back to the lodge, and offered me a room to stay in, in exchange for a little manual labor. Though I felt a responsability to follow through with my vaccinations, I couldnt turn down the offer from the flyfishing guide.

The next morning I rode with Jordan down to the rustic lodge outside the village of Hornapirin. Hornipirin is the last village you can drive to before having to take a ferry further south where the famous highway 7, the "Carraterra Austraul", begins. I spent nearly two weeks in Hornapirin. Helped Jordin, and the local goucho(cowboy) finish the gravel driveway, assisted in slaughtering a bull, climbed the Volcan Hornapirin, and painted a few pictures.



After spending some time at the lodge I learned that it had previously been owned by a couple from the states. They had sold the lodge with most of the furnashings, and trash in the closets. And it had yet to host a client since. With permission I went sifting through the closets in search of any clues as to the history of the place, with a special interest in photographs. After a few hours I came out with a number of journals from a young child, and a relatively unremarkable photograph of a family in some busy urban square. I figured the family to be the previouse owners. I imagined them out there, under the volcano, building their future.


I imagined the daughter going through the stress of moving to such a foreign place, and seeing her parents relationship slip over the years. Watching them change, attempting to fit in to the local community.


I imagined her playing in the water tower behind the lodge.


But then I got stir crazy, and cut out to the park up the road to live a little myself.
I saw cows.

And I rested beside a tranquil stream.


Eventually, I found it time to cover new ground.
I reserved a spot on the ferry.

and headed out of Hornipirin with a group of college kids from Santiago. One in particular shared an affinity for drawing. We held a draw off, after which we swapped drawings. Heres a photo of my drawing of him drawing a picture of me.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A EL FIN DEL MUNDO

It's difficult finding a decent internet connection down here, so we'll just have to suffice with this.


to view a few photos from the trip check out my myspace page via the link on the right.
Powered by Blogger.